Hunt Design, AD/S Develop Healing Graphics for LA Children's Hospital

Architectural-sign program creates warm, encouraging atmosphere
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Designing and fabricating signage for healthcare environments can pose a delicate challenge. Signage must be prominently placed – and highly legible – so anxious visitors can quickly know where to attend to their loved ones, and must meet rigorous safety standards reflective of healthcare facilities’ needs. For facilities that serve the needs of ill children, complexity grows exponentially. Not only must environmental graphics be safe and descriptive, they must also convey compassion while also providing fun and encouragement.
Zimmer Gunsul Frasca (ZGF), a Los Angeles-based architectural firm, developed plans for the Marion and John E. Anderson Pavilion at the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. To develop wayfinding, donor recognition and an array of wall graphics that educate, entertain and soothe, ZGF enlisted Hunt Design (Pasadena, CA) to create the EGD.
“ZGF was instrumental in identifying and developing architectural opportunities for EGD,” John Temple, a Hunt Design principal, said. “The stakeholders wanted [EGD] to be an extension of the hospital’s mission to provide family-centered care in a diverse community. We wanted the EGD to be playful enough for younger patients to enjoy, but not too childlike for teenagers.”
Hunt Design developed imagery for each of the Anderson Pavilion’s seven stories that reflect the flora and fauna of specific Southern California natural environments (deserts, gardens, mountains, etc.). He said the firm’s initial research indicated hospital staff encourages children to exercise, and that “It helps to be able to tell them to walk over to the starfish on the wall, for example.”
Temple invited Architectural Design & Signs (AD/S) Corona, CA, to fabricate the program. Initially, the client requested that wall panels be fabricated from glass, but this concept proved too weighty and cost-prohibitive, so Hunt and AD/S opted for acrylic components. Other sign elements comprise photopolymer for ADA-compliant signage; printed graphics; phenolic-resin panels, which adorn various entry and gathering points; stainless-steel panels direct printed on AD/S’ Mimaki JF-1631 UV-cure-ink, flatbed printer, and Kommerling Komacel® PVC-sheet material. Installation required various hardware solutions, such as Hilti anchors, countersunk screws, blind-welded studs and VHB tape. All fasteners met the goal of a seamless reveal.
“One of the jobs’ biggest challenges was aligning acrylic panels within the recessed-wall areas
that had been framed in by other building trades,” Jeff DeBough, AD/S’ executive vice president, said. “The panels were installed on stand-offs, and they had to be adjusted many times to fit because of openings that were out-of-square. There was only a ¼-in.-wide tolerance around the frames, which made alignment and trimming time-consuming.”